This week we take time to simply catch breath and remember… why do we do it?
We stop to mark the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th month in 1918. It was suggested that over 17 million died during this conflict including those directly involved and civilians. This is the same as the total population of the Netherlands, perhaps it is difficult to comprehend this level of tragic loss of life or suffering.
In the Battle of the Sommes alone 20,000 died on the first day of conflict. We can see in this clip from a battle scene how basic and inhumane the conflict must have been. But still we live in a time of conflict and fear.
We also in November in the Catholic community pray for those who have died before us, all Saints and all Souls. It is right to be able to give thanks for their lives, remembering and praying for them.
As Christians we are called to see that death is transformed into new life. When Jesus rose from the dead He said to His followers “Do not look for me among the dead.” For the power of God’s love for us defeats even death and gives us the hope of new life.
So in a very small way maybe we can do two things in the coming week…
Let us give thanks for those who have made, and continue to make sacrifices, for the things we take for granted like free speech, democracy and education.
But let us all make a deep rooted commitment in thinking about dying that we invest time in living life, and living life to its fullest. This may be the truest way we can remember and give thanks for those who have gone before us.